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River Whyless, 'Promise Rings'

Do you remember when it seemed impossible to imagine life after high school? Self-described art-folk quartet River Whyless looks back at those not-too-distant years (for them, at least) through "Promise Rings," a new single from their forthcoming fourth album Monoflora, out April 8.

With bouncing keyboards, three-part harmonies, acoustic guitar and buoyant strings, the four tell a tale of friendship, family, romance and lazy days that were once their everything. Vaguely reminiscent of Harry Nilsson's "Me and My Arrow," River Whyless mask heartbreak and inevitable unraveling of the bonds of youth here. "All your books and pretty things you left / Your promise rings / Untrue and undying." Self-produced for the first time since its 2012 debut, the North Carolina band amplifies those lyrical themes with a sweetly nostalgic video, decoupaged from home videos of their younger selves.

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Joe Kendrick
Joe Kendrick grew up far off in the woods at in rural Stanfield, NC, where he acquired his first Sony Walkman, listened to both AM and FM radio from Charlotte, went to Nascar races at Charlotte Motor Speedway, attended a small Baptist church, read Rolling Stone, subscribed to cassette clubs, and played one very forgettable season of high school football. From there, Joe studied Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was able to fulfill his dream of being a disc jockey at WXYC. He volunteered at WNCW soon after graduation.